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Audley Stanbridge Earls

Audley Stanbridge Earls is an exquisite retirement village with marvelous grounds and impressive buildings, such as: 

• The main house - listed Grade II* in 1957
• The game larder - listed Grade II in 1986
• The stable block
• The c.1900 glasshouse

Despite being only 5 minutes from Romsey town centre, the area surrounding Audley Stanbridge Earls is as picturesque and peaceful as it gets. There’s so much to see and discover, with 32 acres of natural woodland, open meadows and ornamental lakes, plus the 44-mile Test Way walk that begins high on the chalk downs and follows the course of the beautiful River Test.

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Stanbridge Earls Heritage

Formerly a private home, Stanbridge Earls is rumoured to have been once occupied by Saxon royalty. The name "Stanbridge" is of Saxon origin and derived from a bridge crossing on the River Test. There are claims for Stanbridge as the location of the burial in c.857 of King Æthelwulf based on antiquarian accounts from 16th to 18th centuries.

At the time of the Norman conquest an identifiable land holding was already in existence, recorded in the Domesday survey as an unnamed manor that was part of the estates held by Sir Ralph de Mortimer. Later on the site was held by a number of families until, by the early 19th century, it was in a ruinous state.

From 1942, along with Roke Manor to the south, Stanbridge Earls was used as a rest and recuperation home for USAF personnel. It was photographed in 1943, with images of the gardens, including the Burmese temple. On Hutchinson’s death in 1950 the house was again sold, then rapidly sold again and in 1952 the school was founded.

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Sir Harold Hillier Gardens

If there’s one thing Hampshire has plenty of, it’s interesting places to visit.

The award-winning Sir Harold Hillier Gardens has a packed schedule of seasonal events and is renowned across the world. Set in 180 acres, the gardens have been run as a charity since being in trusteeship of Hampshire County Council from 1977.

Historically, Sir Harold Hillier was a distinguished plantsman, and world authority on conifers. Much of his time was devoted to expanding his ever-growing plant collection, amassing samples from across the country and the world. In 1953 Sir Harold Hillier established the garden and Arboretum, its aim to bring together the most comprehensive and unrivalled collection of trees, shrubs and hardy plants in the UK.

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The charming town of Romsey

and Romsey Abbey

The charming town of Romsey sits by the scenic River Test in Hampshire, one of the best trout and salmon rivers in Europe.

Its medieval streets might look quaint, but scratch the surface and you’ll find plenty of hustle and bustle to keep you busy. From the weekly market to the magnificent Romsey Abbey, which plays host to an extensive musical programme each year, to plenty of characterful pubs and the Romsey Signal Box, a fully restored railway signal box inside which visitors can play at being conductor for the day.

Romsey Abbey is also known as the Abbey Church of St Mary and St Ethelflaeda and can be traced all the way back to 907 AD, the year in which King Edward the Elder, son of the Saxon King Alfred the Great, first settled some nuns here under the charge of his daughter Elflaeda.

In 2019, it's the largest parish church in Hampshire and is well worth a visit. It has an impressive collection of corbels (or gargoyles as most people would call them) and weekly tours are carried out by the stewards.

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Mottisfont

National Trust Mottisfont is a beautiful house and gardens with over 800 years of history to unravel during your visit.
The last owner was a fascinating society hostess and arts patron named Maud Russell, whose taste is reflected in the current decor.
The house was founded as an Augustinian priory in 1201 and its estate extends out over 1600 acres of woodland and tenanted farmland.

There is plenty to explore on a day out at Mottisfont including the rose garden, outdoor theatre, scenic walks and tours of the house itself.

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Nearby Southampton

Just 11 miles from Romsey is the coast and the bustling port of Southampton, which has an abundance of attractions.

There’s Southampton City Art Gallery, which specialises in modern British art, and the Solent Sky Museum, home to vintage aircraft like the iconic Spitfire. The SeaCity Museum has an interactive model of the Titanic, which left from Southampton in 1912. Or, for a spot of retail therapy, WestQuay shopping centre boasts a huge variety of shops, restaurants and bars, plus a cinema and bowling alley.

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Winchester Cathedral

Standing in the heart of Winchester, the Cathedral is one of the area’s most popular tourist destinations, attracting people from across the world to marvel at its structure. The Cathedral’s guided tours and children’s trail are a must to gain a detailed insight into the fifteen centuries of English history embedded in its walls.
Every year, Winchester Cathedral welcomes thousands of people for a diverse range of activities such as services and ceremonies, educational visits and tours, local festivals and other cultural events. To this day the Cathedral is still an active place of worship.
One of the main highlights of the year happens at Christmas, Winchester attracts 350,000 visitors for the renowned Christmas market, with over 10,000 people attending the special services throughout the month of December.

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Stonehenge

Stonehenge is a prehistoric stone circle monument, a cemetery and archaeological site set at about 8 miles north of Salisbury, Wiltshire on Salisbury Plain.
It is the world’s most famous stone circle monument, with over a million visits per year. It stands as an icon for all that is mysterious and awe-inspiring about humanity’s prehistoric past.

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Other local attractions

We couldn't possibly do justice to the wealth of local attractions that this area boasts. Here are some other places to put on your visit list:

  • Broadlands
  • King John’s Hunting Lodge
  • Hillier’s Arboretum
  • New Forest National Park
  • Salisbury Cathedral
  • Fishlake Meadows
  • Itchen Valley
  • Brentry Woodland
  • Abbotswood Nature Reserve

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